Review: Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

Young Adult Contemporary
288 pgs.
Expected Publication: March 1st, 2012 by Putnam
Source: Publisher *for review*

Kelsey Finkelstein is fourteen and FRUSTRATED. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled – by her impossible parents, her annoying little sister, and life in general. But with her first day of high school coming up, Kelsey is positive that things are going to change. Enlisting the help of her three best friends — sweet and quiet Em, theatrical Cass, and wild JoJo — Kelsey gets ready to rebrand herself and make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny.

Things start out great – her arch-nemesis has moved across the country, giving Kelsey the perfect opportunity to stand out on the soccer team and finally catch the eye of her long-time crush. But soon enough, an evil junior’s thirst for revenge, a mysterious photographer, and a series of other catastrophes make it clear that just because KELSEY has a plan for greatness… it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is in on it.

Kelsey’s hilarious commentary throughout her disastrous freshman year will have you laughing out loud—while being thankful that you’re not in her shoes, of course…

Kelsey Finkelstein has stolen my heart away!  Now this is the kind of character I love to read about.  She’s sarcastic, enthusiastic, and absolutely hilarious!  I spent so much time laughing when reading this book and at one point it took me ten minutes to read 3 pages because I was laughing so hard.  I love that feeling!  And when I finished I was ready to pick it up and start it all over again and I very rarely feel that way even when I do love a book.   Kelsey might overreact about some things but her ability to accept the inevitable is astounding.  She ends up taking it in stride and I loved that about her.  It seemed one thing after another happened to her and the embarrassing things she goes through has you thinking that she’s just going to give up and walk away, but no way!  That is definitely not her style.  She follows through with everything she starts.  

Now Kelsey is not only a fabulous character in her personality but she felt real to me.  The things she thinks and does (as well as the other characters in the book) just feels real.  We know that teens drink and there’s some drinking involved but it’s actually mostly responsible drinking.  I mean, she’s not all getting drunk and running around the city or doing stupid things.  I was actually okay with how it played out, it all worked and felt right to me. 

This book has a touch of romance and it’s definitely very sweet but it’s really only a touch and not much of anything until the end.  I thought it was great because we actually have a chance for some real build up and never really know if things would ever go anywhere.  The tension was unbelievable and perfect and although I wanted to see more it really was perfect.  

This is a light hearted and fun book but it has real teen issues.  These are things that normal everyday teens deal with.  Friendship, romance, parties, school activities, family, it’s all real stuff.  No one’s dying, no one has an eating disorder or is suicidal.  But even though it has no big issues, these are Kelsey’s issues and we see them as she sees them and they are still things she has to deal with.  And I absolutely loved how this book went.  How the author made things that may seem boring and mundane absolutely captivating.  She blew me away and I am very eager for more from Meredith Zeitlin, this is one of the funnest (and funniest) books I’ve ever read!  I very highly recommend you pick it up!

5/5 stars!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.  I read the ARC version of the book and the final version may have slight changes.  

This book fits for the 2012 Young Adult Contemporary Challenge. Click the button to find out more!

Thanks for subscribing!


  1. Ooooo I want to read only 3 pages in 10 minutes because I’m laughing so hard! That’s the best feeling ever:) I had no driving desire to pick this one up, but I’m absolutely reading it now, Kelsey sounds like such a beautifully written character. Also, it releases on my birthday, so Happy Birthday to me, I’m buying myself this book.

  2. Gosh I’m glad people seem to love this one as much as I did! You are so perfectly right this is a book about real Teen problems! At this age everything else seemed so very important and this is exactly how it was described in the book. I loved Kelsey and I loved the storytelling – the book was just perfect!

  3. What a great review Candace. I saw this book on Danny’s blog yesterday. It sounds like a great read. I really need something funny, dystopian is dragging me down. This sounds like just the cure!

  4. This sounds a little like the Jessica Darling series (LOVE) but maybe not quite so angsty? I remember the experience of leaving middle school and entering high school, and all the ups and downs that follow as you adjust to being the low man on the totem pole. This books sounds like fun, thanks for the review, I’m adding it to my tbr list:)

  5. Sounds like my kind of female leading lady. She does sound awesome and this book was one I have never heard anything about so I’m excited for it now.

    Thanks for the great review!

  6. Oh my gosh, this books sounds SO absolutely sweet — a.k.a. the perfect book for me! <3 I actually wasn’t planning to get this one right away because I thought it was just going to be another quirky contemporary, but your review has convinced me! Kelsey sounds like the kind of girl I’d love to be friends with, and the perfect built-up romance? Love it already!! :)

    AMAZING review, Candace! Thanks so much for convincing me to read this book — I don’t know what I would’ve done if I passed it up! 😉

  7. I started reading this one but it just wasn’t for me. However, I think this was more due to Kelsey’s age and place in life than anything else. The writing and the story itself (at least, the part I read) were actually fairly well done in my opinion, and I expect it will be popular with a lot of younger readers.

  8. Aaahh, this sounds SO good! I had written this off as a light-hearted chick-flick, but I can see that it was SO much more! I’ll be adding this one to my shelves too, Candace – thanks for all the fantastic book recommendations, dear! 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge